U.S. Apple Corps

Band members                             Related acts

- Bryant Sterling (aka Denis Bryant) -- vocals



- Denis Bryant (solo efforts)





Genre: Christian rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  U.S. Apple Corps

Company: SSS International

Catalog: SSS-12

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap with band sticker on cover; opened and played once

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5289

Price: $30.00


While his business dealings may have left lots to be desired (nobody ever said music was a pretty business), Shelby Singleton's an interesting guy. His musical interests were quite diverse and I'm not sure if anyone's every cataloged his eclectic musical 'catalog'.  Someday I may have to do a little research into the man.  


Like most Singleton projects, U.S. Apple Corps provided little in the way of performing credits, though the back cover photo showed a motley looking six piece outfit, including a black female vocalist.  A couple of internet queries quickly uncovered the band was originally fronted by then 15-year old singer Bryant Sterling (aka Denis Bryant).  Bryant and his band had apparently begun to attract some late-1960s interest on the club circuit, when they attracted the attention of Shelby SIngleton who then signed them to a contract with his Nashville-based SSS International label.  Unimpressed with the rest of the band, prior to recording the band's debut Singleton dumped everyone but Bryant, subsequently teaming him with a group of Nashville studio musicians including drummer Jeff Pocoro, lead guitarist Tommy Shaw and bass player Jacob Stokes.  As an aside, in a brief exchange of emails Bryant mentioned the female singer was recruited from a church next door to the recording studio.


 photo from back cover of LP


Produced by Steve Singleton (whom I'm guessing was Shelby's son), 1970's "U.S. Apple Corps" offered up an interesting hybrid of Jesus rock, Southern soul and conventional rock.  Recorded in three days, Bryant reportedly came up with the idea to re-record a series of classic gospel and religious tracks with contemporary rock and soul arrangements.  While the idea may not have sounded all that promising, powered by Bryant's strong voice (which to my ears bore a resemblance to Spooky Tooth's Gary Wright) and some tasty fuzz lead guitar (recalling Delaney and Bonnie era Bobby Whitlock), the performances were all quite impressive.  The emphasis was clearly on the music and with a couple of exceptions ('Ride On King Jesus') the material's religious quotient wasn't overwhelming.  If you heard most of these tracks on the radio you'd have been hard pressed to identify them as being Christian rock.  Highlights included the blazing cover of Edwin Hawkin's 'Peace In the Valley' and the hard rock remake of 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken'.  The results were even more impressive when you recognized Bryant was only 15 when he recorded the LP.   Like the Box Tops' Alex Chilton you had to wonder where a kid got vocal chops like that!  (Promo copies were pressed on blue vinyl and apparently included a large insert.  This copy is on black vinyl without the insert.)


"U.S. Apple Corps" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't It Like Him   (Edwin Hawkins) - 3:35

2.) Peace In the Valley   (Steve S. Singleton) - 5:10

3.) Will the Circle Be Unbroken   (Steve S. Singleton) - 3:44


(side 2)
1.) Down By the Riverside   (Steve S. Singleton) - 4:33

2.) Ride On King Jesus   (D. Norwood) - 4:42

3.) Swing Low Sweet Chariot   (Steve S. Singleton) - 5:42


There were also two non-LP singles:



- 1969's 'Prayer for Peace' b/w 'Peace-Live' (SSS International catalog number SSS-840)

- 1970's 'Elijah Stone' b/w 'Closer To the Man' (SSS International catalog number SSS-851)